Let us now examine the theory of substitution according to Muslims. Very often my Muslim friends tell me: “Jesus was taken to heaven by Allah before they could kill him. He was not crucified. A look-alike was put in his place by Allah and people believed it was Jesus. Glory to God, the Almighty and the only wise!”
This changes the Injil totally. Instead of Jesus dying for others, someone died for Him!
Think about it!
I am really amazed: How would a ‘pretend’, unreal crucifixion glorify God, especially when no one, till the time of Muhammad, 600 years later, even suggested it as a possibility?
If God wanted to help his prophet, why did he not just take him up to heaven in the sight and with the knowledge of all? It would have been more extraordinary for everyone to see what God was going to do, and to witness a public vindication and victory of Jesus.
Why would God do such a thing secretly? Why would he give the Jews someone else instead, and he was an innocent man? That does not make any sense. It especially doesn’t make sense when Islam teaches that everyone bears their own burden. This teaching is used to say that God would never make Jesus die for others’ sins, and yet they make someone else die for Jesus. That ‘someone’ was never convicted in a court of law for any crime, yet God had him crucified instead of Jesus!
Allah, according to Islam, says that no one is substituted for another. Each of us stand in our own good or evil deeds. Yet, in the same religion, Allah substitutes someone else to die for Jesus. They say Christians are wrong to teach the doctrine of a substitutionary atonement, and then teach that Allah secretly deceived people into believing that it was Jesus who was crucified. God cannot lie!
Would God allow the foundation of the Christian faith to be based on a lie and an identity mistake that he himself has orchestrated? If so, God would then be the greatest liar of history. Impossible! God is just and holy, he only does what is right and right.
I know that for my Muslim friend, God allowing his prophet to be killed by his enemies would be seen as a defeat. Is it?
I would like to ask him three questions:
What is more impressive?
First, which of the following cases would be the most impressive and powerful? Which of them would most display God’s power?
Deceive people and kidnap Jesus without seeing death
– or –
Let Jesus die and then raise him from the dead.
Resurrecting someone from the dead is certainly the more significant act. While Muslims say that Allah is so great and powerful that he will not let his prophet die in this way, Christians say, “Yes, our God has shown the ultimate demonstration of power by raising Jesus from the dead. ”
Which displays a greater victory?
Secondly, what would be the biggest victory between:
Escape death by letting someone else die for you,
– or –
Overcoming death by dying for others and rising from the dead?
Doubtless the second option, is not it!
Which gives greater honour to Jesus and God?
This is my third question. Which of the following would honour Jesus more and give God the greatest glory?
If Jesus used violence to defend himself and escape from those who came to arrest him.
If Jesus refused to go to the Garden of Gethsemane and escaped
– or –
If Jesus, out of love for his enemies, take the worst of the evils they could inflict on him (death on the cross), and then publicly conquer death by rising from the grave.
Obviously, the third case would make God more glorious, and that’s exactly what Jesus said the Bible.
But let us return to the scene of the cross and now ask the eyewitnesses:
At the death of Jesus, the apostle John was so close to the cross that he told us that he saw blood and water coming out of his side pierced by a soldier’s spear (Injil, John 19: 33-37).
John knew Jesus well enough not to confuse him with anyone else! Like John, the witnesses who testified to the crucifixion of Christ were actually there at the time. Those who deny it were born hundreds of years later. How are they reliable witnesses.
How is it that Mary, the mother of Jesus, did not detect the trick. She was at the foot of the cross and heard her son’s own voice speak to her with love? Are we really expected to believe that the person who was substituted made up all the sayings attributed to Jesus, including recognizing the mather of Jesus and telling the disciple John to look after her?
Who better than his mother could have recognised that it is Jesus? Would God would allow Mary and the beloved of Jesus to think she was witnessing her son’s agony when it was someone else? Would God allow his disciples to experience such a painful an experience because of an illusion that he himself has orchestrated?
The centurion was a career soldier. He is not going to let himself get so far in his career and then allow anyone other than Jesus to be crucified. This professional tormentor later confessed his faith in Jesus because of the great holiness Jesus showed. An evil traitor like Judas would never have left such an impression. Remember this, the penalty for a soldier of allowing a prisoner to escape was death. The centurion would be absolutely certain that the prisoner that had been on trial, whose face was beaten up, and whose back was lashed to the bone, was most certainly the man whose hands they pierced as they hammered the nails into them.
The Gospels (the Injil) bring back to us the seven last words of Jesus, all said at or on the cross. Jesus alone could have uttered such beautiful words. For example, who other than Jesus (while he was going through such excruciating pain) would have prayed for his tormentors? Do you think that such feelings, full of mercy and compassion, could come out of the mouth of a traitor like Judas, as it is suggested replaced Jesus?
Judas was only another thieving sinner like the dying thief. Would that criminal, crucified by his side, have been so impressed by the death of Judas that he believed him to be the Messiah, capable of saving him from hell and taking him to heaven? It is so utterly ridiculous that it ought to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World that anyone believes it possible that the man on the central cross was anyone other than Jesus.
Moreover, we learn that in the evening Of his resurrection, Jesus came and stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace be with you”; And when he had said this, he showed them his hands so that they could see the place of the nails and his side pierced by the lance of the Roman soldier (Injil, John 20: 19-20). He proved to them that he was indeed the One who was crucified. Were the nail prints and spear print also a mere God-created illusion to deceive the disciples that He had conquered death, when he had (according to this fiction,) merely escaped it and been somewhere else, hidden away, while everyone else was watching the crucifixion of someone else?
Apart from that, what would you have thought if for centuries God promised that Jesus would come to die for the sins of the world, and that at the last moment, just at the moment of being nailed to the cross, God rescues him secretly, and puts a look-alike in his place.
Would such description of God sit well with you? It would not only make God a liar, but there would be no provision to remedy the sin of man! Jesus was the only sacrifice suitable and sufficient for the salvation of man.
Why not keep searching and find the answer to this question:
Why was it necessary for Jesus to die?
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